John F. Kennedy secret White House recording. Tape 12. Conversation between Kennedy and General Douglas MacArthur.
March 19, 2011
MacArthur Does All the Talking
The highlights of this recording - which begins and ends in mid conversation - are MacArthur's recommendation to Kennedy that (1) the U.S. encourage raids on mainland China by the Nationalists in order to draw China's forces away from Vietnam & Laos - and Kennedy's admission that he had already done that but the Nationalists want too much U.S. involvement, (2) MacArthur's memories of his experiences in WWI prompted by Kennedy and (3) MacArthur's estimation of Eisenhower as vacillating, weak and untrustworthy. In keeping with what we know of MacArthur, he dominates the conversation but Kennedy is fully engaged and encouraging. The talk is interrupted by a phone call from Kennedy's father who Kennedy says seems to be in a bad mood. The recorded excerpt begins with MacArthur's estimation of Kennedy's possible Republican opponents in 1964. All in all, a revealing conversation. Too bad it cuts off abruptly right after MacArthur slams Eisenhower -maybe the Kennedy library doesn't want us to hear more.